September has sprung, and I am sure that we are all a little (or a lot) sad to see Summer end and Fall commence. As a nutritionist I know that eating well is so much easier in the summer months than it is when the weather starts to cool down. The abundance of produce as well as the promise, or threat, of bathing suits at the beach all serve as awesome motivation to eat well.
With fall looming, it can be tempting to throw all your healthy eating habits out the window and go for warm, heavy comfort food. I am here to tell you that just because it is cooling down, it is not a good reason to forget your health! Staying healthy and vibrant during this turn of season is far easier than you might think, all it takes is one little addition to your diet and that is Greens.
Why Greens? Greens are an amazing source of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and chlorophyll. But what do all of these things do in the body? Let me tell you!
Vitamins – Vitamins have numerous rolls in the body, such as acting as antioxidants (think vitamin C), catalysts for enzyme activity, as well as being mediators for cell regulation and tissue growth. Most greens are packed with vitamins A, C and K, just to name a few.
Minerals – Minerals also do a plethora of things for you and your body, like serving to build bones, teeth, nails and other tissues as well as playing a role in nerve conduction. Minerals are so important for maintaining good health. Greens are full of Calcium, magnesium and iron. A good tip for absorbing more minerals from your greens is to eat them in conjunction with a vitamin C source, such as bell peppers, oranges or strawberries. The acidic nature of the vitamin C containing foods will help your body to break down and digest your greens better than just eating them on their own.
Fibre – I am sure that you have all heard about fibre, and that we all need to be getting more of it. Fibre is essential for your health! It acts as a kind of broom for your intestines, keeping them squeaky clean. When we have excess build up in our colons, it can actually rot inside of our guts, leaching poisons back into our systems. It can also inhibit your ability to absorb nutrients from the food you are trying to digest! We need to be getting anywhere from 25-40 grams of fibre every day, and just one cup of broccoli will provide you with up to 8 grams.
Chlorophyll – The best description of Chlorophyll is that it is the blood of the plant. The molecular structure of chlorophyll is almost identical to the structure of our red blood cell. The only difference being that there is a magnesium molecule in the centre of Chlorophyll, and an iron molecule in the centre of our red blood cells. What does all this mean for you? Chlorophyll will boost your immune system, act as an antioxidant, help you fight off cancer cells, and help support healthy blood cells to name a few things. Chlorophyll is heavily concentrated in greens, and thus should be a staple in your diet.
I hope you have been inspired to continue your healthy eating plan well into the Fall, armed with all that you now know about the wonders of greens!
What is your favourite way to eat greens?
Ali Washington RHN. Want to know more? Contact Ali at email@example.com